Every child has different coping mechanisms and will react differently to violence. The following is a list of commonly identified feelings and behaviors of children who have been exposed to domestic violence.
- father / all men
- night time
- father / other men
- mother (for not preventing violence)
- self (for being unable to protect mom)
- the violence. Children are egocentric, so they feel responsible for and guilty about the violence.
- being disloyal to family and friends
- having negative feelings about one or both parents
- Conflict over feelings toward the parents.
- Unpredictable reactions from adults lead the child to be unable to trust them.
- Belief that relationships equal violence.
- Lack of emotional stability at home inhibits learning.
- Fixation at the developmental level at which trauma occurred.
- exaggerated attention-seeking
- negative reactions to men
- separation anxiety
- bedtime fears
- school phobia
- acting out
- age-inappropriate temper tantrums
- self-fulfilling prophecy: the belief that “I’m bad.” leads to acting out, which leads to punishment, which reinforces the belief
- loss of motivation at school
- low self-esteem because of believing that “It’s my fault I got hit.”
- ambivalent behavior
- testing adults
- confused belief systems
- inability to concentrate at school
- sleepiness due to staying awake at night
- regressive behaviors
3. Survival skills
- strong resilience
- well-developed sense of responsibility
- bonds between siblings
- unusual sensitivity
- rejection of violent behavior